Graduate Program


The psychology department at Iowa State University provides doctoral level training in three program areas – cognitive psychology, counseling psychology, and social psychology – plus a graduate Certificate in Quantitative Methods. The composition of the graduate program areas is grounded in the research interests of individual faculty. Overlapping interests of faculty form a number of research clusters as well as a research concentration in psychology and law. Graduate students may also pursue a co-major in another department (e.g., human-computer interaction, neuroscience). For information about co-majors, please visit the graduate college handbook, section 4.3. Please visit the Graduate Students in Psychology webpage for additional resources available to psychology graduate students.


Students may be admitted to one of the doctoral level training areas with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The department does not offer a terminal master’s degree. Graduate students admitted to the graduate program in psychology typically receive funding (tuition plus stipend) for five years as long as they remain in good standing. Applicants interested in the psychology and law concentration should apply to the cognitive or social psychology program. More information about admissions and the application process to the graduate program in psychology may be found here.


The graduate program in psychology follows an apprenticeship model in which students work under the direct supervision of a major professor with input from a faculty committee. A guiding premise of the department’s training philosophy is that the psychologist is a scientist who advances the discipline through research and/or a practitioner who has research skills to design and implement treatment or program evaluations. A strong research orientation is evident in all graduate program areas in the department.

According to the learning goals of graduate training in psychology, graduates of the program will able to:

  1. Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of scientific literature in the student’s training area.
  2. Form testable hypotheses and articulate research objectives that have the potential to lead to significant scientific contributions to the field of study.
  3. Conduct quantitative research via appropriate acquisition, analysis, and reporting of data.
  4. Effectively communicate research findings orally and in writing.
  5. Adhere to ethical principles and demonstrate professionalism in research and/or practice.


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Current Students

Current students should download and read the Graduate Student Handbook carefully.  The handbook details all graduate studies milestones, course requirements, etc.